Wrestlemania 19 weekend in Seattle, the hotel the WWE wrestlers were staying at frequently had fans hanging around outside in hopes of meeting their favorite wrestler. For the most part they had to be content with a wave from a distance as a wrestler loaded luggage up in the car or if they were really lucky, a quick handshake. Then out walked Greg “Hurricane” Helms, pen in hand. He immediately made his way onto the sidewalk, talking, signing and posing for fans. He didn’t leave until every fan had the chance to say hi.
“I have always tried to put myself out there with the fans, whether it is on my website which is going into its 13th year, or being one of the first guys to get on all the social media stuff. I appreciate what it is like to be a fan. I think a lot of guys in this business, especially once they get a little bit of success forget what it is like to be a fan. They really go away from the ‘mark’ aspect of it. I didn’t get into wrestling because I didn’t like it. I was a huge fan of it and happened to be pretty good at it. I just really remember what it was like the first time I met a pro wrestler and they were cool, and I want to give that people that same sort of experience. Most of the fans are really cool,” he said.
It is fitting that such a fan-friendly wrestler is part of WrestleReunion 5 this weekend at the LAX Hilton in Los Angeles. One of 25 vendor guests, Helms is as excited to see other wrestlers as the fans are to see him.
“I am looking forward to seeing Billy Graham, I’ve heard this is his last appearance. I have always liked him, he has always been really cool with me and he liked my Hurricane schtick so we always got along great. Excited about Jimmy Hart, he helped me and Shannon Moore so much in WCW, we keep in touch but I don’t get to see him too much. I used to really like hMr. Saito, I was very happy when he won the AWA championship back in the day, so as a fan I am excited about seeing him. It is always good to hang with your buddies. It will be a fun time.”
Helms also has a match Saturday night against former PWG champion Joey Ryan. Although Helms has seen Ryan at WWE TV tapings he isn’t familiar with his wrestling, which presents an interesting challenge when working independent wrestling matches.
“A lot of times we just come up with it on the fly. If there is stuff I can look at I will. I am still one of the guys who does my homework. I don’t know a lot about Joey but will try and do some research before the match. When you have been on TV and you go and do indy shows there is this theory that we have the advantage because we can tell the other guy what to do. Actually we are at a disadvantage because I am working people I don’t know what they do or anything about them but they know all of my stuff and have the advantage to know what we can do out there from watching me on TV. You have to go out there on the fly but we can make it work.”
Another name set for WrestleReunion is Sean “Val Venis” Morley, who recently had some harsh comments for Helms, Shannon Moore, and Matt and Jeff Hardy. While fans are now wondering what will happen with both men at the convention, Helms isn’t concerned.
“I am not having an issue, I don’t know what his deal is. He is trying to do some kind of internet thing but I don’t know what it is all about. I replied once but it was a joke that Test used to say to him all the time. I didn’t think it was serious, I thought he was trying to be funny and say “just kidding.” I really don’t have any idea what the deal is and don’t care about it. With Highway to Helms it is the real Shane Helms I am not going to get into any work or angles on that. I hope he gets success or attention from it but it is not something I am going to get involved in.”
Instead Helms continues to focus on projects like Highway To Helms podcast and videos.
“It was the brainchild of Jeff Katz, who worked for New Line Cinemas for awhile and produced Wolverine and Freddy vs. Jason. I always had some side projects I wanted to do but with WWE you are so handcuffed, they don’t let you do anything. They have to agree with it and own part of it even if it has nothing to do with wrestling. You are really limited on what you can do. That is why when so many guys leave WWE they have nothing to fall back on because WWE doesn’t give them the chance to do that. When I left Jeff called me, I hadn’t even thought about something like this. I have been an internet fan for years and years, I would bring clips to the shows and show people stuff. Jeff knew that and wanted to do a show where I talked about wrestling, boxing because I am a big fanatic for that, and I could keep my name out there and have fun with it. I have the gift of gab and as you can tell from my Hurricane character I am a pretty goofy guy all day long. So that is how it came about. It was 30 minutes and now it is an hour and we go over the hour every week. We just have a lot of fun with it and it has taken off, we have had almost 23’000 downloads on Itunes. The fans are liking it and as long as they like it I will keep going because I have fun with it. That is what I want to do now with my life, just have fun. I am having fun doing the indies, I chose Lucha Libre USA as something challenging and fun. I am going to Japan and can’t wait to go back. WrestleReunion sounds like a total blast. I just want to have fun.”
The downside of keeping a high profile is that his comments can explode on the internet. Such was the case in recent comments about Shawn Michaels. Some feel that making negative comments about him is an attempt to get attention, but Helms says that is not the case.
“What I said about HBK I mean it from my heart. It is not something I was doing to get attention, fans asked me questions and I answered. All the negative feedback is coming from people who don’t know neither of us. I really don’t understand how you can take up for somebody you don’t know against somebody else you don’t know over a situation you know nothing about. It was nothing to do with attention, I said it and it didn’t get out for a couple of weeks. Someone asked me if there was one guy I disliked and in all the years I had in the business on TV there is only one guy I really don’t like and that’s him. You couldn’t say nothing about him in WWE because if you did you’d get in trouble. He is just a guy, even after his ‘salvation’ or whatever still continued to try and hurt other peoples careers and there is no need for that. We can all be as successful as we want to be without undercutting each others careers and I was one of the guys he undercut. Of course I have a bad feeling about that, and a lot of guys do feel that way. My phone just blew up from a lot of the boys who agreed with me but they may not be in a position to comment on it. I am not going to throw anyone under the bus and mention names. The fans are entitled to their opinion and I don’t care that they attacked my opinion but don’t attack me for having one. He has a huge fan base and they are pretty loyal. It has nothing to do with business or his talent. He will go down as one of the greatest of all time and he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, I never said he didn’t. The only comment I made about the Hall of Fame is that is great but I would rather have piece of mind knowing I never screwed over anybody in life let alone in business. I do take great pride in that.”
Recently Helms released a video of him signing a contract to return to televised wrestling with Lucha Libre USA. The style is an exciting challenge for him that will show fans a return to the style of “Sugar” Shane Helms and Gregory Helms which many may have forgotten after the success of The Hurricane.
“I was never a strictly high flyer. If you look at the what X-division became that is the style I was doing as Sugar Shane before any of those guys. The cruiserweight division in WCW had guys who could wrestle or guys who could fly high but very few who did both. That is what I did and why I got so much attention because I was one of the few guys, especially an American, that was doing it all — flying, wrestling, I could fight, I could be a good guy or a bad guy, I could talk. I was a guy who originated that style. Back in those days everyone was stealing my shit, if I came up with a new move it was somewhere else within weeks. In WWE as the Hurricane it was a gimmicky character and people wanted to see the shtick I did. I could go out and wrestle a really technical match and they would pop for the hurri-pose and the chokeslam more than anything. I was really kind of stuck there, do I go out there and mark out for myself or give the people what they paid to see? At the end of the day you have to entertain the people. When I switched to Gregory Helms I went back to the “Sugar Shane” style. It was funny because it reminded people that I could actually work. Arn Anderson came up to me about three weeks in of being Gregory Helms and said ‘Damn kid I forgot how good you were!’ The Hurricane really concealed that. It was the good and bad, I made a ton of merchandise money but was limited with what I could do in the ring.”
When he first announced the signing he didn’t disclose which company he was signing with. That lead many to assume he would be joining longtime friends Matt and Jeff Hardy and Shannon Moore in TNA.
“There were TNA people that were asking for my number when I first left WWE but I wasn’t taking any calls, I couldn’t for 90 days. TNA started doing the ECW thing and bringing in a new guy every week and I didn’t want to get lost in the shuffle, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to go back into a contracted deal. This is my 21st year in the business. I got started really young and didn’t do that trampoline stuff, I had my first match at 16 years old. I am a little banged up as we all are and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be on any crazy schedule anymore, especially with the side projects I got going on. That is a lot of my passion right now is those projects. When I started doing the indy’s again and working with some talented people it lit a fire under me again. I am a fan of the TNA product and have a lot of friends down there and people who would like to see me there. I think Lucha Libre is a better fit for me right now.”